The Art of Photographing Bees, Hummingbirds, and Ladybugs

By David Powdrell

I’m reminded from time to time to slow down and pay attention to the little things in life. Photographing bees, hummingbirds, and ladybugs can be Zen-like, teaching patience while simultaneously focusing on the tiniest of details. Life seems to reward those that pay attention to the details.

Maybe the best part of photographing these flitty, elusive creatures in the backyard is that I turn off the iPhone, the TV and social media and get back to nature. There are incredible things happening all around us every day when we take the time to step outside and observe. 

Bee factoids:

  • Almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. Crops that depend on pollination are five times more valuable than those that do not.   
  • Honeybees never sleep.
  • The honeybee is the only insect that produces food eaten by humans.
  • Fermented honey, known as Mead, is the most ancient fermented beverage.  The term “honeymoon” originated with the Norse practice of consuming large quantities of Mead during the first month of a marriage. 
  • Honey keeps well.  A pot of honey was found in good condition in King Tut’s tomb.
  • Bees actually have four wings, two wings on each side that hook together to form one larger pair when flying and then unhook when they’re not flying. 

Hummingbird factoids:

  • The heartbeat of a hummingbird is more than 1,200 beats per minute.
  • Hummingbirds will visit an average of 1,000 flowers per day for the nectar.
  • They can reach speeds of up to 60 mph when in a dive.
  • There are more than 325 species of hummingbirds.
  • Their wings flap at a rate between 50 and 200 flaps per second.
  • The average lifespan of a hummingbird is about 5 years.

Ladybug Factoids:

  • Ladybugs eat aphids and other plant-eating pests and are friends among farmers.
  • Their bright colors warn predators to stay away. 
  • Ladybugs defend themselves with toxic chemicals.
  • They live for about a year.
  • Large numbers of ladybugs have been known to wash ashore on beaches around the world.  The largest washup happened in the early 1940s when an estimated 4.5 billion bugs washed ashore in Libya. 
  • When food is scarce, ladybugs have been known to practice cannibalism. 


How lucky are we to live in a place with such beautiful weather, wonderful wildlife, and spectacular flora along the Pacific Ocean.  Stay grateful, my friends. Life is good.   



Written by bigwavedave

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